Monthly Archives: December 2009

Autopilot

Cohen and MacBook Pro

I’m currently on autopilot. Doing without thinking, and just being.

It’s a strange feeling because I’ve been trying to get to this level where I’m no longer conscious of trying to be at this level1. It’s a recursive nightmare. But now that I’ve been here for a few days, I’m not sure if I like it. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m not used to it, because I feel like I’m missing something, or because I feel way too overstimulated.

I tried to schedule a day of rest, aka me time, aka hermitizing in my house, in between every event, but that didn’t work out. I won’t have a single day to myself until the 3rd of January. I was hoping for a holiday where I could sit and do nothing for two days in a row, just so it’d be like a long weekend at least. I’ve been trying to celebrate because I finished my contracts early, but I suppose these last few days have been enough of a treat, even if it’s left me without any time to withdraw and reflect.

One day I woke up at Darren’s house, went downstairs, turned on the TV, and Serendipity had just started. I remember watching this generic holiday drivel set in a New York Christmas at Vicky’s house back when I was in university. It was definitely Christmas back then cause I was back home in Toronto, before my parents divorced, and we went to house parties as a family. It was it’s own little serendipitous sign, reminding me the holidays were here, and I should take it all in for a second.

  1. Croupier, starring Clive Owen, is completely based on this idea. Go see it. []

Ryan's First Birthday

A video I shot as a Christmas present for Aaron and Karen. This was the first day I tried my “poor man’s steadycam”, and aside from a few shaky shots from fiddling around while trying to capture everything, the panning works very well.

I was thinking about saving the video for when Ryan gets married, but figured I may be dead before that happens, so I decided to give it to them now. There are so many notes in the production of the video that I feel like I need a 10-minute directors commentary to cover all the details. Alas, I’ll leave the insight up to the viewer.

How can so many people love one little boy? It seems almost impossible.

Lye and Vinegar

(Just like old times, eh?)

Tyler licks his lips until they’re gleaming wet. He takes Jack’s hands and KISSES the back of it.

I figured it out.

I had too much want.

The saliva shines in the shape of the kiss. Tyler pours a bit of the flaked lye onto Jack’s hand.

I started out selflessly — doing without expecting, giving not to receive, working not for reward1 — because all I wanted was to live in the moment, to experience as much as I could while it lasted. Eventually, that turned into a desire, a belief that I couldn’t live without what (or whom) I wanted.

One could call it love.

The old me would have blamed myself for falling into that trap, but I’ve since recognized that I’m human. That I’m prone to falling, especially when I’m so amorously intoxicated.

Jack’s whole body JERKS. Tyler holds tight to Jack’s hand and arm. Tears well in Jack’s eyes; his face tightens.

Now that I’m able to stand back and recognize my longing, and I can also see how much that longing that was starting to tear me down.

It’s like in Fight Club, when Tyler Durden is about to pour lye on Jack’s hand. Jack already knows he’s going to die; it’s an undeniable reality we all come to realize as we grow out of childhood, yet are rarely forced to deal with (or even embrace). For Jack, that reality doesn’t truly sink in until he’s faced with the chemical burn on his body.

Jack, snapping back, tries to jerk his hand away. Tyler keeps hold of it and their arms KNOCK UTENSILS off the table.

I was told it was over before it started, but that reality didn’t sink in until recently. It’s taken this long because I dared to dream of something greater, and a large part of me didn’t want to give up the wonderful memories. Unfortunately, those memories are mixed and inseparable from everything else that’s been holding me back. The fact that I think too much doesn’t help either.

At some point, I realized that I simply had to let go. Truly let go.

Tyler finally says to Jack:

Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or, look at me, or you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn. First you have to give up, first you have to know — not fear — know — that someday you’re gonna die.

I used to think I had lost something special, but now I have no desires and nothing left to lose. It’s like I’m starting back where I was two years ago, which really wasn’t a bad place to be. The world is finally lucid and clear.

Now I know, and it feels like happiness.

Congratulations. You’re a step closer to hitting bottom.

  1. Readers of the Tao Te Ching will recognize this language. There’s so much of this Taoist idea of paradox and contradiction in Fight Club. []

Two (and a half) Days in St. Louis

Day one

At security, I’m selected randomly for a screening. The guard asks my age. “Twenty…”, I begin, trying to remember if I’m 27, 28, or 29. “Twenty. Okay.”, he says, cutting me off. Somehow, he believes I look nearly a decade younger than I am. For two days, I’m packed light, with no checked baggage. In my rush, I forget to get some American money. This worries me.

Ottawa airport

Plane in Ottawa

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